“Speak Up” Rally to Raise Awareness

The Student Council for Exceptional Children (SCEC) will host the Speak Up Rally at Memorial Gym on Sept. 21 in hopes of raising awareness for people with disabilities.  Raising awareness for people with disabilities has many facets, which the SCEC hopes to bring to attention.

“The purpose of the Rally is to not only raise awareness for individuals with disabilities in our community, but also how we refer to them and how we talk about them,” said Co-President of the SCEC, Kayla Walker, of Crossville.  “We want others to just be aware of the language they use when they talk about people with disabilities.”

Amy Callender, advisor of the SCEC, said Saturday’s Rally will not focus on just one or two disabilities. She said it will showcase information about several different disabilities that people in our society may have.

“Each one of the officers and some other members of the SCEC will be setting up a table that will focus on one specific disability category,” said Callender. “They will have some information about that disability as well as maybe an activity to kind of assimilate what it might feel like to have that disability.”

Walker said a bit of a celebrity persona will be present at the Speak Up Rally. She said Darius Weems, star of the documentary “Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life”, will be talking to attendees of the event via Skype.

“His documentary is about him traveling across the United States of America,” said Walker. “He has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and the documentary talks about how hard his travels were and what all it took for him to travel across the U.S. in a wheelchair. We’re excited to be able to do the Skype call with him.”

There will be food for sale at the event, as well as t-shirts, videos and raffle tickets for door prizes. Walker said the money that is made at the event will go to a great cause.

“We’re going to be giving the proceeds that we will collect throughout the day to two or three local special education teachers,” said Walker. “We are also going to be giving some to the Independence program that goes through Tech, which is a program that allows students with disabilities to go to college. There will be representatives there from the Independence program to talk about the program and sell some crafts and gift bags.”

The Speak Up Rally will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Memorial Gym.